It’s an easy to overlook an opponent with a poor record, and that was almost a huge problem for the Thunder on Monday night in Phoenix. In the end Oklahoma City (39-14) was able to avoid losing back-to-back games for the first time in 2016 and were able to buckle down in the game’s final 13 minutes to pull away for a 122-106 victory.
The Suns held a 85-82 lead with 37 seconds left in the third quarter and it looked like Phoenix would enter the final frame with a lead, but that was until Dion Waiters decided to take matters into his own hands. Waiters slashed towards the basket and banked in a running shot while getting fouled, and had a chance to tie the game at the free throw line.
Instead of tying the game, Waiters missed the free throw but the miss went right into the hands of Kyle Singler, who quickly passed it out to a wide open Kevin Durant who drained a three-pointer to give the Thunder a two-point lead. After a stop on defense, Singler added two more free-throws to OKC’s total before the end of the quarter, and then Cameron Payne knocked down a corner trey to start the fourth quarter and all of the sudden the Thunder had flipped a three-point deficit into a seven-point lead.
Phoenix got back within three points in the fourth quarter, but Durant drilled a couple of his signature three-pointers to put an end to any chance the Suns had. Durant finished with 32 points, but 25 were scored after halftime.
Westbrook added 29 points of his own to go with eight rebounds and eight assists while Dion Waiters totaled 15 points on 5-of-11 shooting.
Markieff Morris led the Suns in scoring with 23 points and Archie Goodwin had 20 points of his own. Both Mirza Teletovic and Alex Len were big factors off the bench in the first half but were virtually nonexistent after intermission.
OKC was able to hold the Suns to only 1-of-11 shooting from behind the arc while in turn shooting the money ball at a 45.5 percent clip. Phoenix has now lost 23 of their last 25 and have dropped eight straight games.
The Thunder will be back in action at home on Thursday night when they host Anthony Davis and the Pelicans.